Just some early morning thoughts from me to you…
“Yet you risked everything here. Why? We look at you and somehow we know the answer. It was faith and belief; it was loyalty and love…You all knew that some things are worth dying for.”
Ronald Reagan (June 6, 1984, 40th anniversary of D-Day in Normandy, France)
The air is quiet this morning, reflected in the soft folds of our American Flag now posted on our home hanging still—almost preparing for something special. As a Nation, our thanks will be expressed two days from today when we will pause to honor those who have served to defend our country in the Armed Forces of the United States of America—our veterans.
I wonder if our expression of thanks to them should be every day.
God of our Fathers, whose almighty hand leads forth in beauty all the starry band,
Of shining worlds in splendor through the skies, our grateful songs before Thy throne arise.
It wasn’t until that evening about ten years after my service in the U.S. Air Force during the Vietnam War that I remember hearing the words “thank you.” Up until that moment, those who served during that time were often made to feel less and ridiculed for their service. At the conclusion of his remarks, the speaker that evening—himself a retired and wounded Marine—asked all the veterans to stand and be recognized—first from WW I, then WW II, then the Korean War, and, then the Vietnam War.
As I slowly stood, with Lynda looking proudly up at me, the tears began to stream down my face—memories of so many now gone who served during that time, and of the pain and rejection by so many around us who disagreed with the war and ridiculed those answering a call to duty during that time. I stood.
It was a defining moment for me—a moment long overdue—a recognition that I, and so many others like me, held a sacred designation in the annals of American history: veteran.
From war’s alarms, from deadly pestilence, be Thy strong arm our ever sure defense;
Thy true religion in our hearts increase, Thy bounteous goodness nourish us in peace.
We are at the juncture of yet another defining moment in the journey of our nation. A moment where we honor our veterans while the very foundations of who we are as a nation are being challenged and attempts are being made to strip those foundations away—the very foundations our veterans stood in the gap to preserve.
And the attempts are coming from many quarters. But the saddest are the attempts being led by many of those who have been called to represent us in our government. Many of them will give lip service this week to those who have served us in the past and serve us today—but while doing so, forget the very foundations and pillars of freedom of this great nation those veterans stood and stand today to uphold—for you and for me, and even for those who would try to strip them away today.
I wonder if they have forgotten the words of George Washington reminding us that…“It is impossible to rightly govern the world without God and the Bible.” Maybe they no longer care.
I wonder if we have forgotten that in a nation where prayer has been removed from our schools, and where the word “God” is removed from public buildings and sought to be removed from our coins. A nation where the message of God and Gospel is so watered down in our churches that is has lost its meaning, power and attraction in the world.
Recent polls would suggest that the vast majority of Americans understand and hold dear the important foundations of our Nation, and that God is, and has always been, an essential cornerstone of those foundations. And Americans are finally standing up and being energized to give loud voice to those long-held beliefs. That they are doing so is yet another important and defining moment for our nation.
In an interview a few years ago, Bryant Gumbel asked Anne Graham Lotz, the daughter of the Reverend Billy Graham…
“Why didn’t God stop this (referring to the attacks of September 11, 2001) or do something about this?
To which Anne responded…
“For years we have told God we didn’t want Him in our schools. We didn’t want Him in our government and we didn’t want Him in our finances. God was just being a perfect gentleman in doing just what we asked Him to do. We need to make up our mind…do we want God or do we not want Him? We cannot just ask Him in when disaster strikes.”
The foundations of this great nation are rooted in tireless concepts of liberty, freedom, a government of the people, and a firm reliance on God. Those veterans we honor this week knew all of that when they stepped forward, raised their hands and said “send me.” And it’s a time for us to remember, and a time to remind all those who may have forgotten, or have chosen to forget.
The veterans we honor this week are veterans of the United States of America—nothing else, nothing less, nothing more sacred than our families and the God we serve and upon Whom this great nation was established.
Refresh Thy people on their toilsome way; Lead us from night to never-ending day;
Fill all our lives with love and grace divine, and glory, laud, and praise be ever Thine.
May God continue to bless all those veterans who stand in the gap for this great nation, and may God continue to bless the United States of America.
In His Name—Scott